Church shooting spree
A church shooting spree in Florida shocks a community. Image: vanz/Flickr/CC BY-SA

A man entered a Lakeland, Fla., church Sunday morning and opened fire. He shot and wounded the pastor and assistant pastor before he was wrestled to the ground and subdued. The gunman is also accused of murdering his wife at their home shortly before the incident.

Kneeling in prayer

It was just past 10 a.m., and the congregation was kneeling in prayer at the Greater Faith Christian Center Church when Jeremiah Fogle, 57, entered. He walked down the aisle to the pulpit, pulled out a .32 caliber pistol and shot the kneeling Pastor William Boss in the back of the head. He also shot associate pastor Carl Stewart three times in the back, head and ear.

‘I have to take this gun away’

Derrick Foster, a member of the congregation, heard the gunfire and screams. He and another man, Corey Reed, tackled Fogle. “The first thing in my mind was, `I have to take this gun away.’” Foster said.

Foster told the Associated Press that he had to wrestle with Fogle for several minutes before he was able to get the handgun away from him. “He had a great grip on the gun,” Foster said.

Foster and Reed managed to hold Fogle until the authorities arrived. Six more unfired rounds were found in the gunman’s pocket. “He was prepared to shoot even more,” Sheriff Grady Judd said. There were about 20 people attending the service at the time of the incident.

Wounded men hospitalized

The wounded men, Boss and Stewart, were both hospitalized. At last report, Stewart remained in serious condition. Boss’s wound, to the back of his head, was not life-threatening.

Fogle’s wife found murdered

Police, acting on the advice of one of the members of the congregation, went to check on Fogle’s wife. Theresa Fogle, 56, was found fatally shot at their home.

Motive remains unclear

“We don’t know exactly why he went into this mad rage,” Sheriff Judd said. Fogle, a former member of the congregation, had earlier broken away from the church and started his own ministry out of his home.

Maria Beauford, the sister of Theresa Fogle, said that she had never known Fogle to be violent with his wife. “We have no idea what his motive was,” she said. “We just have no idea.”

Fogle has been charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and firing into an occupied dwelling. He is set to appear in court Monday.

Possible previous arrest for murder

According to True Crime Report, Fogle, who owns a transportation company, was charged with first-degree murder back in 1986. Details of that case, however, were not readily available.


True Crime Report:
Associated Press:|maing9|dl1|sec1_lnk1|28436
New York Daily News:


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